Earlier, a post from a Facebook friend gave me one of those “light bulb moments”.
I’ve never wanted to blog about the actual art of writing-one, because there are already so many other people doing it, two, because I assumed everyone already knows everything, and three, I’m not sure if anyone would want to hear what I have to say on the topic.
Ah, what ever gave me that idea?
I’m still learning. Things change almost daily. We pick up tid-bits on how to do things and how to approve our writing all the time, and, we can also forget things (or get slack).
One of my favorite things about being an author is the fact that most you meet are willing to help. Everyone wants to see everyone else succeed (at least, most of the professional authors I’ve met, anyway).
I have spent years, years learning, and most, if not all, I’ve learned from others. I have read articles, books, taken courses, excelled in college English classes…but most of what I’ve learned I have done so by learning from others who took the time to put the information out there for those of us who were just learning, willing to go the extra mile, look things up and post it so we could all learn.
So, with that in mind, I thought I’d pass along some bits of info.
If you have a question on a particular thing, ask. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find the answer. But, I’ve learned a lot over the past twenty or so years. Surely, I’ve learned something that could help. 😉
Tibit for today: Use adverbs sparingly, especially the -ly adverbs.
I know! I know! How are you to do that? How on earth am I supposed to let the reader know that Cassie is upset if I tell them she stomped heavily across the floor?
Well, I have to say this is a lame example, but go with me here.
You can do it with a little tweeting of the words and showing her doing it.
No, it isn’t always easy. And, yes, I have been known to “cheat” and use them when my mind refused to give me a description of the adverb. But, whenever possible, we are supposed to show that Cassie is upset in other ways.
Instead of writing: Cassie stomped heavily across the floor to the fireplace, picked up the candlestick and threw it forcefully towards Max, we say …
Well, stomped tells us that she is upset by itself, so here we could just leave out the “heavily”. It’s redundant, anyway, and not to be used (that’s another lesson). And, if she “slung” the candlestick towards Max, then she’s apparently ticked. Ask Max. 😉
The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want to write. Is it Fiction or Non-fiction? Memoirs or articles? Perhaps, it is Sci-Fi, Horror, Women’s Fiction, Romance? What is it that is calling to you? Write what is of interest to you, not what someone suggests or what is trending. Stay true to yourself and your stories.
Worry about the publishing, etc. later. Let’s just get you writing for now.
Next, network with those of us who write and publish in that genre. I can’t tell you crap about writing Sci-Fi, unless the “rules” apply to all genres (and, some will).
Learn about POV (point-of-view) and which is best for what you want to write.
Learn how to stay in a character’s POV and not “head-hop.”
Learn how to “show and not tell.”
Here’s one that so many don’t thing about: learn your grammar! This is a “biggy”! Learn the correct tenses, learn punctuation, correct sentence structure, etc. I learned things had changed since I first learned about the dreaded comma. I think it’s to the point that no one knows any longer what the correct usage is.
No, it isn’t as easy as putting words onto paper or a screen. There is much more to the process. Some folks will say, no, there isn’t. But, don’t be fooled. If you want to make a career out of writing, if you want to be published and read, then learn all you can about the craft. And, continue to learn. As in anything worth doing, it pays to read and soak up all the knowledge that you can.
Until next time,